Libya disowns warning to Turks, Qataris

On Saturday, retired general Khalifa Haftar gave Turkish and Qatari nationals 48 hours to leave eastern Libya or face arrest at the hands of his forces.

Libya disowns warning to Turks, Qataris

World Bulletin / News Desk

Libya's Foreign Ministry said Monday that it had nothing to do with a warning issued earlier by a retired army general to Turkish and Qatari nationals against remaining in Libya.

"The transitional government is responsible for protecting foreigners staying in Libya," the ministry said in a statement.

On Saturday, retired general Khalifa Haftar gave Turkish and Qatari nationals 48 hours to leave eastern Libya or face arrest at the hands of his forces.

Haftar spokesman Mohamed Hegazi told Anadolu Agency that the warning reflected popular Libyan anger against both Turkey and Qatar.

"We also have information that some of the nationals of these two states work for intelligence agencies," Hegazi asserted.

The Foreign Ministry went on to urge Libyans to respect "foreign guests," saying the latter were in the country to provide important services to the Libyan people.

The ministry also assured foreign companies and businessmen working in Libya that it would take the necessary measures to guarantee their safety.

Haftar, who once fought against late Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, reappeared on Libya's political stage last month to declare war on Islamist militias based in the eastern parts of the country.

He commands a combat force, comprised of thousands of fighters, and says he is bent on eliminating armed militias.

His recent military operations against these militias come on the heels of almost three years of turmoil that has dogged Libya since Gaddafi's 2011 ouster and death.

Turkey refutes spy claims in eastern Libya

Turkish foreign minister dismissed claims Monday that Turks have to leave eastern Libya within two days as Turkey is accused of sending spies to the country's east.

"These claims are groundless," Ahmet Davutoglu told a press conference with Iraqi Turkmen Front Leader Ershad Salihi in Turkish capital Ankara. "Turkey or someone from Turkey cannot be accused of such an offense."

Turkey closed its consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi on June 13 and warned its citizens against travelling to the turbulent North African country, particularly its eastern regions.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has called on Turkish nationals in Libya to leave the country if their presence was non-essential.

Last Mod: 24 Haziran 2014, 09:38
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